Karl Lagerfeld certainly knows how to mark an epoch.
Fall 2015 Couture not only marked 50 years at Fendi for the designer, but also the brand’s first expansion into the field of couture. The designer achieved yet another milestone by becoming the first designer to orchestrate two couture shows in a single week. This unique confluence of events would throw most into panic mode, but Lagerfeld seemed unflustered as he revealed Fendi’s “Haute Fourrure” show amid protests by PETA outside. One might assume that his overt reliance on the brand’s signature motif (fur) was an easy way to tackle the problem of designing two separate, but distinct, couture lines at the same time, but he managed to work miracles with the material, transforming mink, sable, and fox pelts into otherworldly specimens that defied any form of human description.
While each of the 36 (mostly monochrome) looks in the Fendi collection were comprised of fur, it was difficult to understand just how Lagerfeld created such innovative finishes. Instead of fuzzy flourishes, he flattened and shaved the fur until it resembled something else entirely — fabric, feathers, leather, and more. Exquisite fur coats, capes, and dresses were elevated by the craftsmanship to a level never seen on the couture runway before. It was a remarkable display of opulence and excess, amplified by seriously stunning thigh-high metallic boots and three-dimensional detail work. Furry surfaces were upholstered with enormous flower appliqués and oversized paillettes, adding feminine glamour to Fendi’s overwhelming parade of outerwear and eveningwear.
That being said, and while some outlets have made lighthearted mention of the PETA protests outside the show, there is a real question that demands an answer here: why? In this technological age, there is an endless variety of options when it comes to creating fashion with faux fur, and Lagerfeld has always embraced the digital age and its function in design. Fur may be a Fendi tradition, but it would have been really innovative, new, and futuristic if Lagerfeld had tried out a cruelty-free version of this display instead.
Photos: Courtesy of Imaxtree